FAIRLAWN: One thing is certain when the PBA Tour travels each week from city to city — there is no bowler who has a bigger spotlight than Jason Belmonte.

That spotlight will once again shine on Belmonte as he goes for his 10th major title at this week’s Tournament of Champions at historic AMF Riviera Lanes.

In Thursday afternoon’s final round of qualifying, Belmonte threw eight strikes in his final game and finished with a 237 to earn the 24th and final spot.

“I knew I needed to bowl relatively well,” Belmonte said of his last game. “It hadn’t been a very good day so far. I wanted to find a little bit of rhythm, little bit of timing. Eight of those 10 shots I hit what I was aiming for, and all eight times I struck.”

In match play late Thursday, Belmonte moved up from 24th to seventh, going 5-3 and averaging 235. He had just one open frame in eight games.

Match play continues at 11 a.m. Friday.

“Belmo,” a two-handed bowler from Australia, has all the tools to be successful on the tour — great balance, precision shot making and plenty of power behind each shot.

The 16-time PBA title holder has more major wins (nine) than regular tournament wins (five) at the age of 34. Making the cut and the top 24 gives Belmonte a chance to make the stepladder finals and an opportunity to tie PBA legends Pete Weber and Earl Anthony with 10 majors.

“The whole idea is you have to reset,” Belmonte said. “You have to forget about the bad blocks. We’re all human and we’re all going to have them. It’s about bowling to your potential and having that confidence walking back into the building.

“For me, I need to leave at the door any of that negative feelings that I had this block. Start fresh and come out believing this is my tournament to win still.”

Even with all his success at such a young age, Belmonte said he still feels pressure. And it will take a lot for him to reach Sunday’s televised final and win, as only 15 PBA bowlers in this format have gone from 24th place to win and only three times in major has a bowler come all the way from the bottom to win.

“Every ball I throw, I feel something,” Belmonte said. “Every pin, every shot counts in bowling. There’s always pressure. Obviously, the pressure is greater later you get into the tournament or close to the cut rounds.”

The accolades are a mile long for Belmonte, who already has accomplished more than most bowlers even dream. He has four USBC Masters to go along with two TOC titles, and a win at Riviera would tie him with Mike Durbin and Jason Couch with three TOC wins.

A four-time GEICO Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year, including this past year, Belmonte also was PBA Rookie of the Year in 2008-09 and is a four-time ESPY Award winner as the best bowler.

“It’s just an eternal fire. No other way to explain it,” he said. “I’m a very competitive person in nature. This is my livelihood. I do this for my family. I’m always gone, so I sacrifice a lot.

“So I make sure I make everything count when I’m gone. You put that all together — the eternal drive, drive for my family and the sacrifices — I won’t let myself not have success.”

Russell in lead

Day 1 and Day 2 qualifying leader Ronnie Russell continues to bowl well and holds a lead after the first round of match play Thursday night at AMF Riviera Lanes.

Russell, who averaged 231 during qualifying, went 6-2 in match play and has a total pinfall of 6,201 (+1,001). Sweden’s Jesper Svensson also went 6-2 and is second with a total pinfall of 6,126. Svensson averaged 244, including a 297 in game 3.

Matthew Sanders was the only bowler to go 7-1 and is third at 6,092.